Citing the federal 2009 national survey on drug use and health, White House drug policy director Gil Kerlikowske today focused on what he called troubling increases in drug use among certain groups of minority teens, and urged parents and community leaders to take action. The survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found significant increases in drug use among young African American teen girls and Hispanic teen boys between 2008 and 2009.
When surveyed about their use of any illicit drug in the past month, both groups reported increases in drug use of more than 3 percentage points, making them the demographic populations with the largest increases in illicit drug use between 2008 and 2009. Drug use among black/non-Hispanic females ages 12 to 17 years old increased from 7.3 percent in 2008 to 10.4 percent in 2009, and drug use by Hispanic males of the same age group rose from 9.2 percent in 2008 to 12.8 percent in 2009. Kerlikowske asked “parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, and community leaders [to] do their part by taking action today to protect these at-risk youth groups from a lifetime of drug-related consequences.”